PITTSBURGH PA - DECEMBER 27: Ashton Gibbs #12 of the Pittsburgh Panthers looks to make a pass against the Connecticut Huskies at Petersen Events Center on December 27 2010 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh defeated Connecticut 78-64. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
After a down senior season, Ashton Gibbs has a difficult path in front of him if he hopes to play in the NBA next season. Gibbs' shooting percentages went down dramatically in 2011-12, and with the injury to starting point guard Tray Woodall, Gibbs really struggled to find his footing.
Still, there's a shot Gibbs lands on an NBA roster next season if a few things go his way. He's already had a strong showing in this year's Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, but while that will help, several more things still need to happen.
Gibbs has already worked out for the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, and Miami Heat. He could have a few more workouts and needs to impress in those to make sure he gets a few teams interested.
After that, he needs to find an ideal situation. After word of his tryout with the Lakers came out, I wrote on Cardiac Hill about why he could be a good fit for them. The Lakers are in need of a shooting guard capable of coming off the bench and could use someone who is able to knock down shots. But other teams surely could use him as well and Gibbs needs to find a team that doesn't have too many players with his same skill set.
If Gibbs is able to find the right team interested in his services, he'll then need to impress in their summer league workouts. The NBA's D-League is filled with many players who all can play to some degree and will likely be his destination if a team picks him up. Gibbs needs to give a team a reason to find a bench spot for him and his first real chance to do that will be by standing out in the summer league games playing against other young players. As I mentioned earlier, Gibbs played extremely well in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament and despite a poor year shooting the ball, really found his stroke scoring nearly 20 points a game and making 61% of his shots. He'll need a similar showing in the summer league games if he expects to make a team out of camp.
The last thing Gibbs might need is a bit of luck. If a team has a player in his position go down with an injury or unexpectedly sign as a free agent with another team, that would help his chances as well. No Pitt fan, obviously, should be hoping for an injury to help Gibbs achieve his dream of making an NBA roster, but injuries in the league are facts of life. If one does happen, it might just open the door for him.
All in all, Gibbs making a roster this year is probably a bit of a long shot. But it only takes one team to show interest and if Gibbs can somehow regain his shooting stroke, he might find such a team.
For more on Pitt basketball, check out SB Nation Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.